By Accommodation Times News Service
The Golden Temple city of Amritsar topped the list of 27 new smart cities announced by the Minister of Urban Development Shri M.Venkaiah Naidu. Eight other cities of pilgrim and tourism importance that made to the third list of smart cities are; Ujjain, Tirupati, Agra, Nashik, Madurai, Thanjavur, Ajmer and Varanasi. With this the number of cities selected under Smart City Mission for financing implementation of smart city plans has gone up to 60.
Announcing the cities that were selected in a competition among 63 cities, Shri Naidu said “The willingness and enthusiasm among cities to participate in more than one round of competition is a clear evidence of the urban renaissance set in motion. Competition bases selection has made the cities rediscover themselves as they are undertaking a thorough assessment of gaps in the present levels of infrastructure and service delivery and come out with comprehensive, credible and actionable plans for area based development and technology based Pan-city solutions”
The Minister informed that the new 27 smart cities have proposed an investment of Rs.66, 883 crore under smart city plans including Rs.42,524 cr under Area Based Development and another Rs.11,379 cr for technology based Pan-city solutions that benefits all the citizens of respective cities. With this, the total investment proposed by the 60 cities selected so far has gone up to Rs.1, 44,742 cr, he said.
Mr. Parveen Jain President NAREDCO commented that inclusion of cities like Agra, Amritsar, Ujjain, Varanasi, Tirupati & Vellore etc will boost the tourism sector as well as bringing up these cities on global tourism map. He further told that the much awaited concept of smart cities would lead to well planned urbanization with aesthetic beauty comparable to international standards.
Mr Jain said that NAREDCO, the apex body of builders and developers, sees immense opportunities for the real estate industry in transforming the cities likes Agra, Ajmer, Amritsar, Aurangabad, Gwalior, Hubli-Dharwad, Jalandhar, Kalyan-Dombiwali, Kanpur, Kohima, Kota, Madurai, Mangaluru, Nagpur, Namchi, Nashik, Rourkela, Salem, Shivamogga, Thane, Thanjavur, Tirupati, Tumakuru, Ujjain, Vadodara, Varanasi, Vellore into smart cities.
Mr. Arun Lakhani, Chairman and Managing Director, Vishvaraj Infrastructure Ltd
“We are feeling very proud about the announcement of Nagpur being selected in the Smart Cities Mission. Projects such as Nagpur 24×7 Water Supply, which envisages safe drinking water for all, including slum-dwellers. This Nagpur 24×7 Project has been showcased as the model case study for other cities at the launch of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation. Today, water supply and waste water management is a key element of the Smart City Mission. With an estimated 850 million people expected to live in Indian cities by 2050, up from 350 million now, the need to have smart water infrastructure is the need of the hour.”
Arindam Guha, Senior Director, Deloitte in India
“The Smart City Challenge continues to generate significant enthusiasm throughout the country. With the addition of these 27 cities, a total of 60 cities are now eligible for funding under the programme. The high interest and participation levels in the Smart City plan development phase now needs to be sustained through quick implementation on the ground. Cities which are able to prioritize their implementation initiatives by identifying quick wins, adopt relevant best practices and leverage expertise available in the external eco-system are expected to be the real winners going forward.“The Smart City programme has already brought in an extent of standardization in city level planning. For example, smart solutions around traffic management, solid waste and municipal services like trade licenses, payments, grievances etc. feature in most of the approved Smart City plans. With quick implementation being the need of the hour, it remains to be seen whether MoUD comes up with some sort of a common support mechanism for select interventions to fast track implementation. Such sharable common platforms (for example cloud based solutions) may be particularly suited for Information and communication technology (ICT) related initiatives and help cut down on implementation time, optimize one time investments and also overcome existing capacity constraints in Government.”
Shrinivas Kowligi, Partner – Smart Cities and Urban Transformation, EY India
“With now 60 cities across India eligible for funding support from GoI, the biggest challenge is going to be talent and expertise – both within and outside the government. The competencies needed for addressing the myriad challenges Indian cities face, and to handhold them in their journey to get smart, requires diverse technical skills, project development and management expertise. Ministry of Urban Development now needs to drive transformational initiatives to scale up human resource capacity in the country to address this challenge.
Many of the tier 2 and tier 3 cities in the list have very low administrative and management capacities. These are the cities that can broad-base economic development in their respective States, and widen the base of wealth creation. Building Smart Cities is more than preparing tender documents, and contracting out works. Hence, State Government should provide adequate focus to these cities.
Just as the Ministry of Urban Development established Standard Service Level Benchmarks for urban services many years ago (~ 2007 -08); MoUD should now establish benchmarks for smart urban services. For eg. establish what capabilities a city emergency response services should entail; or what a mobile app for journey planning should be capable of.”
The 27 cities selected in the latest round of ‘Smart City Challenge’ competition in order of the marks scored by them are: